Friday, September 20, 2019

The Next Show

Without a computer, life still goes on.  Last week I had been contacted by the BAC and asked to have a small show.  Essentially, they had a space and nothing else to ,put in it, while I always have work to be shown, often already in frames.  They declared this a good opportunity to promote my next woodcut class in Belmar, scheduled for mid-October.  Well it might be that, and I can always put together a show on short notice, so I agreed.  I sent a proposal with images of potential pieces to the contact and waited for a reply.  A few days later I lost the use of my computer, but I still hadn't heard anything.  Borrowing my mother's computer, I finally got a reply, which was do anything you want.  As my friend Dave mentioned in a recent e-mail exchange, one advantage of having been raised and educated in an era when there was no internet. is that we can sometimes do things without it.

I had looked over the space last week, saw the deep red wall, verified that the wood strips nailed to the wall were to be used for hanging, and was told that I was responsible to repair any damage done to the walls as part of my show.  With all that, I decided to go with a small group of larger pieces (instead of a lot of smaller ones), and black and white prints were less likely to clash with the red walls.  I went through my collection of framed works not currently promised to any other shows, selected five, and packed them for transport.  I'd figure out a title and theme later.  I was told that the space would be open to work in on Tuesday, so that became my installation day.

The walls, which held some youth art last week, were now empty.  I laid out work by leaning framed prints up against the wall, and decided that the four black and white prints would be enough.  (The fifth would have been a hand colored boardwalk print, compatible in size and theme, but clearly the odd man out when I only needed four.)  I had brought a hammer, there was a ladder in the storage closet, and once the supply of hanging hardware was located, the rest was easy. I hung plenty of shows over the years, mostly in the era before the internet existed, so nothing I couldn't handle.  The presence of the wood strips meant that I didn't even need to measure for height.  Even with having to move furniture around the room, the whole process only took an hour.

Since part of the point of this show is to promote next month's class, I chose pieces that tend to get a strong reaction from students.  I believe that all have been shown there once before, but not recently.  I decided that, other than all being woodcuts, the one common element is that all were done in New Jersey, with residents or scenes or events from the area, thus I had my theme.  The show is called "Scenes From NJ".   I suppose some of it could have been done in other states, but it wasn't, and some could only have happened here.

I suppose the two figure pieces could have happened elsewhere, 21st Century Employee is about society, and I think that businesses around the country have banned smoking, not just this state, but it was here that the event occurred that inspired this piece.  The double portrait What Did Your Face Look Like Before Your Parents Were Born? is of a former coworker, and it might have been the same if I knew her from another place, but I worked with her in New Jersey.  The other two pieces definitely have state origins.  Moving Day was created for a show dedicated to a new state policy intended to preserve some remaining open spaces in NJ.  Deer in the foreground run toward the viewer, and away from looming construction cranes in the background.  Never actually saw this, but it seemed plausible back in the 90's, when I did this piece and farms and forests were rapidly being converted to housing developments.  Death On the Highway shows a scene that was quintessentially New Jersey, where the Garden State Parkway passes directly through a cemetery as a bottling plant that had a giant bottle shaped tank (painted to look like a Pabst bottle in my youth) sat adjacent.  To which I added elements from Albert Pinkham Ryder's spooky masterpiece The Race Track.  The bottling plant is gone now, but I believe the headstones are still there.

My show (in what had been the side gallery and classroom, but has been converted by the photographers in to a lounge) as far as I know runs the duration of the new annual photography show, which goes through October 18, 2019.   The gallery is open Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday.


Post a Comment

<< Home